Where you live and what kind of housing you choose is very personal. If you’re not following traditional routes, you may feel like it’s hard to find advise that applies to your plans. When buying a houseboat or floating home, there may be little guidance available. Here is some info and where to start on your journey to liveaboard life.

Choose Your Boat Type

If you’ve decided liveaboard life is for you, there are a few boat options available. You can live on a yacht, a power boat, a sailboat, a trawler, a motor sailer or a houseboat with or without an engine. You probably have a lot of research to do, and it’s advisable to know what you’re looking for in advance instead of choosing between what you find available. This will be your home, after all. Consider what you value and what matters to you in a boat and a home.

Decide Whether You Want to Buy New or Used

Now that you have an idea of they type of watercraft you’re looking for and what features you value, you’ll need to consider whether you want to buy a new or used boat. New means everything will probably work and certainly have a warranty, but you’ll pay more. Used can save you a bundle of money, but you may be in for more repair and maintenance. After you’ve decided whether you want to buy new or used, you can set your goal budget.

Browse Listings, Work With a Broker, Attend a Boat Show

This is the “find your home” step. If you choose to use a broker, you can let someone else do the work of locating options for you to consider. Either way, you will find that reading listings and attending boat shows is fun and can help you understand what’s available and what prices are usual. It can be worth visiting a couple boats from ads even if they don’t seem like “the one”.

Narrow Down Your Options

Boats don’t usually sell right out from under you if you take a bit to consider buying. See if you can find two or three boats that are acceptable to you, and weigh theirs pros and cons. Are they each worth their asking price to you? Does any one of them have a feature that is of high value to you, or that you find displeasing? Just going through these questions can help you continue identifying your wants and needs. In the end, there should be a boat that you’re interested in the most.

Before You Buy

Now it’s time to refine the prospect of buying a houseboat to buying this houseboat. You would do well to hire a boat inspector to advise you. Included in the evaluation of the boat should be a walkaround inspection, a sea trial and a survey by an accredited marine surveyor.

Close the deal

You’ll also want to finalize your docking or temporary storage space if you haven’t yet. If this is your first time living on a boat, you may want to join some online and real world liveaboard groups. Visit meetup.com and facebook to find communities of other liveaboard people.

When it comes to your transaction, it’s nice to think you can trust everyone. But when large amounts of money are changing hands, or the seller has agreed to make upgrades, repairs, or provide specific equipment or other details, it’s safest to use an escrow service. When buying a houseboat from an individual seller or dealership, there can be terms that need to be met before payment is due. Using a professional escrow service protects both buyer and seller from messy transactions.